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New Argonne-developed tool helps car buyers compare electric-drive and traditional vehicles

Consumers in seven US Midwest states seeking information about plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles now have access to a new-vehicle purchase guidance tool created by Argonne National Laboratory. The tool was created as a part of an innovative clean-vehicle program recently launched in the Midwest. States currently covered by the new tool are Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin.

The consumer tool, called EVolution: Choices for a Smarter Purchase, is designed to help car buyers make informed decisions when purchasing a new vehicle. It starts with consumers’ purchase considerations—such as purchase price—and compares the monetary and environmental benefits of various passenger electric-drive vehicles and equivalent conventionally fueled models.

The new guidance tool helps consumers compare the cost of owning different electric-drive powertrain technologies, as well as the environmental impact of these vehicles. By entering your zip code, your results are customized to show local fuel and electricity prices, vehicle purchase price accounting for incentives, charging availability, and commute time to determine cost of ownership.

The climate where you reside, based on the entered zip code, and your commute time help the tool factor how often you need to charge each type of plug-in electric vehicle. A map showing public chargers by location and type is also provided to assess your potential charging availabilities. At the end of the six steps, you will know the differences in costs, emissions, and petroleum consumption between the various types of vehicles you are considering. There is an electric-drive powertrain to fit anyone’s driving needs.

—Yan Zhou, principal environmental transportation analyst for Argonne National Laboratory

The EVolution website connects to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, FuelEconomy.gov, US Energy Information Administration websites, and others in one convenient platform to provide the most recent information about electric-drive and conventional powertrain types, public charging locations, and available incentives.

Argonne National Laboratory designed the research tool as a part of the seven-state Midwest EVOLVE project. Midwest EVOLVE (Electric Vehicle Opportunities: Learning, eVents, Experience) is a partnership between the American Lung Association and eight Clean Cities coalitions throughout the Midwest to educate consumers about the clean-air and performance advantages of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles.

Midwest EVOLVE launched in early 2017 with more than 60 partners, including automakers, utilities, state agencies, municipalities, dealerships, and dealer associations. The project was announced at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show.

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